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US fugitive who faked death, skipped UK court date arrested

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Posted at 3:15 PM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 15:15:41-05

A Rhode Island man who authorities say fled the U.S. and faked his death to evade prosecution for rape and financial fraud has been arrested after skipping his court date in Scotland, police said Thursday.

Police Scotland said officers arrested Nicholas Alahverdian in the Woodlands area of Glasgow after a warrant was issued by the Edinburgh Sheriff Court earlier in the day. The 34-year-old, who has gone under a number of other aliases, is now due in court Friday.

A police spokesperson deferred other follow up questions to Scotland's Crown Office, which oversees prosecutions, but a spokesperson for that agency declined to comment. Spokespersons for the Edinburgh Sheriff Court also didn't return emails seeking comment.

Utah County Attorney David Leavitt's office, which has charged Alahverdian in connection with a 2008 rape in Utah, declined to comment on the extradition proceedings.

"We again express our gratitude to the law enforcement agencies for their diligent efforts in this matter to bring this individual to justice," he said in a statement.

It's not clear whether Alahverdian has a lawyer; an email seeking comment was sent to the "Alahverdian Family Office," which had sent a notice in 2020 about his funeral and memorial service in Rhode Island.

Alahverdian was discovered at a hospital in Glasgow last month under the assumed name of Arthur Knight after becoming seriously ill with COVID-19. He was granted bail last week as he awaits extradition to the U.S., WPRI-TV reported.

Leavitt's office says Alahverdian, at the time going by the name Nicholas Rossi, sexually assaulted a former girlfriend in Orem, Utah, in 2008.

Authorities in Rhode Island have said he's also wanted in their state for failing to register as a sex offender and the FBI has said he faces fraud charges in Ohio, where he also was convicted of sex-related charges in 2008.

In recent years, Alahverdian had been an outspoken critic of Rhode Island's Department of Children, Youth and Families, testifying before state lawmakers about being sexually abused and tortured while in foster care.

Then in 2020, he told local media outlets he had late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had weeks to live.

An obituary published online claimed he died Feb. 29, 2020, but by last year, Rhode Island state police, Alahverdian's former lawyer and former foster family were publicly doubting whether he actually died.